Braille Monitor                                                   April 2010

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Education: Top Down and Bottom Up
2010 NOPBC Conference


by Carol Castellano

Carol CastellanoFrom the Editor: If you are the parent or educator of a blind child who has considered attending the NFB convention in Dallas this summer, you should read the following article carefully. Carol Castellano is president of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children. This is what she says:

I remember well my first reaction on that fateful day. My husband and I walked into the neonatal ICU, where our baby daughter had been a patient since her extremely premature birth four months before. A blur of doctors in green scrubs hovered over her bed. “Her retinas have detached,” they told us. “It is stage four. There is a good chance that she is going to be blind.” My first thought was: how was she going to get an education?

The education and development of our children are a primary and pressing concern for parents. Our questions are many, and our need for information is deep. We worry: Will our children learn? Where will they go to school? Will they be accepted? How will they get around? What will happen as they grow up?

Who among us has not contemplated—sometimes with fear—their child’s future as a blind person? What do we imagine when we look down that road? A life of sadness, helplessness, and dependence? Or a future of competence, confidence, and empowerment for our child? I know now that what we see depends largely upon what we have come to believe about blindness.

Our children’s ability to achieve independence and a full life—to whatever degree their full potential allows—depends to a great extent on the foundation their education provides. And the quality of their education depends to a great degree on the training and expectations of those teaching them. So it makes sense that we parents would be concerned both with educating our children—from the bottom up—and with the education their teachers receive—the top down. Our children need to be educated by teachers with high expectations and hopes for their future, and their teachers need to be educated by professors who share the progressive views and positive thinking of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children and the National Federation of the Blind.

As I look back over the years, I can hardly believe I was so worried. My daughter is now a college graduate who has worked at a real job and is contemplating graduate school. We credit the positive philosophy, high expectations, mentoring, and guidance of the NOPBC and the NFB as the inspiration behind our daughter’s success. My family received so much from our association with NOPBC and the NFB and from our convention experiences. I want that for your family too.

Each year at our annual conference, the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children brings parents together with experts who can address their information needs, answer pressing questions, and provide not only tips, techniques, and advice, but also inspiration and hope. Our conference is a wonderful opportunity for parents and children to meet other families and blind adults from across the nation, many of whom will become mentors, role models, and lifelong friends. It’s also a great place to have fun. We hope very much that you will join us this year.

Following is some insider information and a description of the special NOPBC activities for parents, children, and youth that will take place at the NFB national convention this year.

 

NFB President Marc Maurer sits on the floor talking to a circle of attentive children.Schedule of Activities
for Parents, Teachers, Children, and Youth

Saturday, July 3
Full-Day Seminar for Parents, Teachers, and Rehabilitation and Orientation and Mobility Professionals

7:30–8:45 a.m.—Registration

9:00–Noon—General Session

Welcome—Carol Castellano, president, NOPBC; Dr. Eddie Bell, director, Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness, Louisiana Tech University

Kid Talk with Dr. Mark Maurer—Kids get a chance to speak to the president of the National Federation of the Blind about anything that’s on their minds

From Alchemy to Chemistry: A Blind Scientist Breaks Through—Cary Supalo, chemist and PhD candidate at Penn State University

Youth Panel: Imagine the Possibilities—Mark Riccobono, executive director, NFB Jernigan Institute; Student Panelists
Teacher Training: The State of the Art—Dr. Ruby Ryles, Louisiana Tech University; Dr. Jerry Petroff, The College of New Jersey

Education: Top Down and Bottom Up—Dr. Fred Schroeder, 1st vice president, National Federation of the Blind and president, NFB of Virginia

Rehabilitation Training: The State of the Art—Dr. Edward Bell, Director, PDRIB, Louisiana Tech University

Note: At 10:20 young people and children not already at NFB Camp leave for the following activities: NOPBC Children’s Activities will take place in NFB Camp (childcare). Be sure to register your child with camp—form elsewhere in this issue. Children in the Kid Talk session who are signed up for the Make-a-Book Workshop will be escorted to NFB Camp after the Youth Panel.

10:45 a.m.Make-a-Book Workshop, (ages five to ten, in NFB Camp)
Children will work with writers from the NFB Writers Division to create beautiful story or poetry books to take home and forever remember Dallas 2010.

10:30–Noon–NFB Junior Youth Track and Youth Track Sessions
Sponsored by NFB Jernigan Institute for youth ages eleven to fourteen and fourteen to eighteen.

12:00–2:00 p.m.—Lunch on your own; pick up children from childcare

1:30 p.m.--Childcare Reopens

2:00–3:00 p.m.—NOPBC Concurrent Sessions for Parents
The Conquest of Independence

Discover ways to foster and encourage the natural drive toward independence and to avoid hindering it. This workshop will offer helpful strategies for raising and working with the blind child in the early years of development. Instructor: Carla McQuillan, founder and executive director, Main Street Montessori Association

The Blind Student in Science Class

Tools and techniques are available to include blind students in all aspects of science class, from elementary through AP courses. Instructors: Cary Supalo, Dr. Lillian Rankel, science teacher; Marilyn Winograd, TVI; Dr. Andrew Greenberg, chemist

Braille Reading Rates

Can Braille readers compete? What does the research really show? This workshop will include Braille reading demonstrations and information on how your child can become a Braille reading speed demon! Instructors: Dr. Eric Vasiliauskas, parent; Jerry Whittle, Braille teacher

Let Your Child Grow Up

When is the right time to begin stepping back as a parent? When is your child really ready for more independence? Instructors: Rosy Carranza, program services coordinator, NFB Affiliate Action; Andrea Beasley, parent

3:15–4:15 pm—NOPBC Concurrent Sessions for Parents

ABC and 1, 2, 3

How to create an atmosphere that encourages the development of early literacy and number understanding in the young child in the home and at school. Instructors: Heather Field, special educator; Stephanie Kieszak-Holloway, parent

I Survived Math Class

Strategies and tips for ensuring that your child learns, keeps up with, and even learns to love math. Instructor: TBA; panel of blind students

Social Skills

The area of social interaction is often a concern for parents. This workshop will explore strategies for fostering the development of age-appropriate social skills in the young blind child. Instructors: Denise Mackenstadt and Angela Frederick

Low Vision: Focus on Success

Sometimes it feels as if the low-vision child is caught between two worlds. This workshop will explore the reality of having low vision and will offer ways to ensure that the child is prepared with techniques and tools for success in school, at home, and in social life. Instructors: Mark Riccobono, executive director, NFB Jernigan Institute; Marla Palmer, parent

4:30–5:30 p.m.—NOPBC Concurrent Sessions for Parents

Get Your Child Going

How can you get your child moving and exploring the world? Explore ways to enhance and promote independent movement in the young or delayed child. Instructor: Denise Mackenstadt, NOMC

Technology

What technology do blind kids need and when? Come learn what technology is available and hear from students on how they employ it. Instructor: Richard Holloway, parent; blind students

Behavior: From Control to Support in Five Easy Lessons

This workshop will focus on problem behavior in blind and vision-impaired children and how parents and teachers can use the positive behavior support approach to support the child’s behavior and encourage self-determination. Instructor: Dr. Jerry Petroff, The College of New Jersey

Is Your Child Job-Ready?

This workshop will focus on the many components of job readiness, how your child can gain experience and skills, and the role of the child, the parent, school guidance, and vocational rehabilitation. Instructor: TBA

3:30 p.m.NOPBC Children’s Activity (ages five to ten, in NFB Camp)

Diggin’ into Science

Children will participate in interesting and exciting hands-on science activities involving instant snow, glaciers, magnets, UFO ball chains, Alka Seltzer rockets, and volcanoes. Instructors: Dr. Lillian A. Rankel, science teacher; Marilyn Winograd, teacher of the visually impaired

Note: NOPBC children’s activities will take place in NFB Camp (childcare). Be sure to register your child for camp.

2:00–5:00 p.m.—NFB Junior Youth Track and Youth Track Sessions

2:00–3:30 p.m. High School Readiness—Junior Youth Track
                                    Fashion—Youth Track
                                    Fitness—Youth Track

3:30–5:00 p.m. College Readiness—Youth Track
                                    Fashion—Junior Youth Track  
                                    Fitness—Junior Youth Track

5:00–7:00 p.m. —Mix and Mingle Reception—Professionals and Parents

7:00–9:00 p.m. —NOPBC Family Hospitality
Relax and chat in an informal atmosphere. This is a great opportunity for new families to meet and connect with others. Veteran parents will be on hand to welcome and provide information.

Sunday, July 4

No NFB Camp on this day

9:00–10:30 a.m.—Cane Walk Session I

11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. —Cane Walk Session II
Learn and experience the discovery method of travel at these special workshops. Parents, teachers, blind children, siblings welcome. Coordinator: Jeff Altman, NOMC

 4:00–5:30 p.m.—NFB Junior Youth Track and Youth Track Activity
Writers Workshop (ages eleven to fourteen and fourteen to eighteen)
Create an original work of art with members of the NFB Writers Division.

Monday, July 5

11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.—NFB Junior Youth and Youth Track Activity
Meet and greet with NFB division representatives.

1:00–4:15 p.m.—NOPBC Annual Meeting: Issues and Advances in Education
Keynote address by the 2010 Distinguished Educator of Blind Children, Issues and Advances in Accessible Textbooks, special guest speakers, Braille Readers Are Leaders and Writers Workshop presentation, Summer Programs for our kids, Parent Power, business meeting, elections, and much more!

1:00–4:30 p.m.—NOPBC Activities for Middle and High Schoolers

1:00–2:30 p.m.—Diggin’ into Science (ages eleven to fourteen)
In this hands-on session, children will participate in interesting and exciting science activities involving instant snow, glaciers, magnets, UFO ball chains, Alka Seltzer rockets, and volcanoes. Children will learn the science principles behind the activities as they test the behavior of different materials and learn that hands-on exploration leads to enjoyable science without the need for sight. Instructors: Dr. Lillian A. Rankel, science teacher; Marilyn Winograd, teacher of the visually impaired; with assistance from Cary Supalo, chemist; and Dr. Andrew Greenberg, chemist

3:00–4:30 p.m.—Peer-To-Peer Technology (ages eleven to eighteen)
Calling all geeks! Come teach, share tips and advice, and learn from others. middle schoolers and high schoolers can expound on the technology they love and the technology they love to hate. Moderators: TBA

3:00–4:30 p.m.—The Future Is Here in Science (ages fourteen to eighteen)
Enter a world of discovery as you engage in hands-on chemistry activities and explore science from a new perspective. Understand chemical phenomena and empower yourself to learn science in a whole new way. Use a cutting-edge laboratory interface for more independence in the laboratory classroom. Limit: twenty-four participants. Instructors: Cary Supalo, Dr. Andrew Greenberg, Dr. Lillian Rankel, Marilyn Winograd

5:00–7:00 p.m.—Braille Book Flea Market
A book lover’s dream. Come browse tables of new and used Braille and print/Braille books. UPS volunteers will ship the books to your home free of charge. Donations requested to support the Braille Readers Are Leaders program. Cosponsored by NOPBC and NAPUB. Coordinator: Peggy Chong

7:00–8:00 p.m.—Girl Talk and Guy Talk
Four separate sessions for guys and girls eleven to fourteen and fourteen to eighteen. Led by experienced blind mentors—no parents allowed.

7:30–9:00 p.m.—Dads’ Night Out
All dads, sighted and blind, are welcome.

Tuesday, July 6

7:00–8:30 p.m.—NOPBC Concurrent Sessions for Parents

IEP Workshop for Beginners

This workshop will focus on the basic principles of writing an effective IEP for parents who are more at the beginning of the process. Topics will include evaluations, goals, strategies, and what the law says. Instructor: Carlton Walker, parent and attorney

Getting to Yes

When all members of the team are pulling in the same direction, more progress will be made. This workshop will focus on ways to resolve conflict so that your child can benefit and make the most progress. Instructor: Dan Frye, trained legal advocate

Tactile Maps and the Development of Spatial Awareness

Spatial awareness enables a blind person to travel safely and independently. This workshop will explore ways to promote the development of this important skill in your child. Instructor: Debbie Kent Stein, editor, Future Reflections

8:30–10:00 p.m.—NOPBC Concurrent Sessions for Parents

IEP Workshop for Veteran Parents

This workshop will be for parents who have been through the IEP process a few times but still need assistance in getting a good education plan in place. Instructor: Carlton Walker, parent and attorney

Testing

This workshop will examine issues of testing and accommodations in statewide standardized tests and college entrance tests. Instructors: Barbara Mathews, parent and attorney, and a representative of the College Board

Adapting Materials

Having accessible materials ready at the time they are needed is a key component of making the education of a blind child work. This workshop will explore ways to adapt and create useable materials for student success. Instructor: TBA

7:00–10:00 p.m.—NOPBC Activity for Kids (ages six to fourteen)
Kids whose parents are attending NOPBC workshops are invited to come for an evening of hands-on astronomy, crafts, games, and movies.

7:00–8:00 p.m.—Astronomy at Your Fingertips
Fun-filled astronomy-related activities in an out-of-this-world workshop. Instructor: Noreen Grice, astronomer

8:00–10:00 p.m.—Crafts, Games, Movies

7:00–10:00 p.m.—NFB Youth Track Activity (ages fourteen to eighteen)

Throwback Dance Party

Wednesday, July 7

7:00–8:45 a.m.—NOPBC Board Meeting

NOPBC Insider Information

National convention is a complicated week of events. Here are a few tips to help you stay organized and take advantage of the many opportunities that will be available.

NOPBC 2010 CONFERENCE REGISTRATION
Enclose a check made out to NOPBC and mail with this form to:
Pat Renfranz, NOPBC Treasurer
397 Middle Oak Lane
Salt Lake City, UT 84108

Save money by preregistering. Preregistration must be postmarked by June 10.
After June 10 please register onsite in Dallas.

FEES

By June 10

Onsite in Dallas

Adult

$25

$30

Child 5-12 years

 $5

$10

Youth 13-18 years

$15

$20

Adult Name ____________________________________________________
 [ ] parent                     [ ] professional [ ] other____________________
Adult Name ____________________________________________________
 [ ] parent         [ ] professional [ ] other____________________
Please list additional adults on a separate sheet.

Address ______________________________ City _____________________
State _______             Zip _____________    Phone _______________________
Email ____________________________       Alt. phone ____________________

Children’s names (first and last), ages, and brief description of vision and any additional disabilities:_____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________

How many?                Preregistering by June 10                          Onsite reg.
 Adults _____             @ $25 = $______       or                     @ $30 = $______
 Children _____              @ $ 5 = $______        or                     @ $10 = $______
 Youth _____              @ $15 = $______       or                     @ $20 = $______

Total enclosed: $_________

___ I receive Future Reflections           ___ I am a member of my state NFB/POBC
 ___ This is my 1st national convention  ___ If not, how many have you attended?
___ I cannot attend the conference, but please put me on the NOPBC mailing list. (Please fill out contact information above and mail in form.)

Please note: Preregistrations postmarked after June 10 will be returned.
Also remember that registrations for the NOPBC conference and NFB Camp are separate and must be mailed to different places.


Workshop Sign-Up
(Please see workshop descriptions in previous pages)

Saturday, July 3

Children (Please mark how many will attend session.)

NOTE: These activities will take place in NFB Camp (childcare). Child must be registered for NFB Camp in order to attend.

            _____ A.M. Session: Make-a-Book Workshop (ages 5–10)
                         Name _____________________ Age_______
                         Name _____________________ Age_______
            _____ P.M. Session: Diggin’ into Science (ages 5-10)
            _____ I give my permission for my child to be photographed in this session
                        Name _____________________ Age_______
                        Name _____________________ Age_______
Youth (Please mark how many will attend session)
            _____ A.M. Jr. Youth Track Activities (ages 11-14 and 14-18)
            _____ P.M. High School Readiness (ages 11-14)
            _____ P.M. Fashion (ages 11-14) or _____ P.M. Fitness (ages 11-14)
            _____ P.M. College Readiness (ages 14-18)
            _____ P.M. Fashion (ages 14-18) or _____ P.M. Fitness (ages 14-18)

Adults
2:00–3:00 p.m. (Please mark how many will attend session)
_____ The Conquest of Independence
_____ The Blind Student in Science Class
_____ Braille Reading Rates
_____ Let Your Child Grow Up.

3:15–4:15 p.m. (Please mark how many will attend session)
_____ ABC and 1, 2, 3           
_____ I Survived Math Class
_____ Social Skills
_____ Low Vision: Focus on Success

4:30–5:30 p.m. (Please mark how many will attend session)
_____ Get Your Child Going   
_____ Technology
_____ Behavior: From Control to Support in Five Easy Lessons
_____ Is Your Child Job Ready?

SUNDAY, JULY 4 (Please mark how many will attend session)

Cane Walk Session I: 9:00–10:30 a.m.             _____ adults _____ children
Cane Walk Session II: 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.  _____ adults _____ children

Youth (ages 11-14 and 14-18) (Please mark how many will attend session.)
            _____ 4:00–5:30 p.m. Writers Workshop

MONDAY, JULY 5 Youth (Please mark how many will attend session.)
_____ 1:00–2:30 p.m. Diggin’ into Science (ages 11–14)
_____ I give my permission for my child to be photographed in this session
_____ 3:00–4:30 pm Peer to Peer Technology (ages 11-14 and 14-18)
_____ 3:00–4:30 p.m. The Future Is Here in Science (ages 14-18)
 (Sign up early—limited to twenty-four participants)
            _____ I give my permission for my child to be photographed in this session

            _____ 7:00–8:00 p.m. Girl Talk (ages 11-14)
            _____ 7:00–8:00 p.m. Girl Talk (ages 14-18)
            _____ 7:00–8:00 p.m. Guy Talk (ages 11-14)
            _____ 7:00–8:00 p.m. Guy Talk (ages 14-18)

TUESDAY, JULY 6 (Please mark how many will attend session.)
Adults
            7:00–8:30 p.m.
            _____ IEP Workshop for Beginners
            _____ Getting to Yes
            _____ Tactile Maps and the Development of Spatial Awareness

            8:30–10:00 p.m.
            _____ IEP Workshop for Veteran Parents
            _____ Testing
            _____ Adapting Materials

Children (ages 6-14)
            _____ 7:00–8:00 p.m. Astronomy at Your Fingertips
Name _____________________ Age_______
            _____________________ Age_______

            _____ 8:00–10:00 p.m. Crafts, Games, Movies
Name _____________________ Age_______
            _____________________ Age_______
Youth (ages 14-18)
            _____ 7:00–10:00 p.m. Throwback Dance Party

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